This group of girls has been close before, even back to their peewee days.
Four years in a row, the core group that makes up the Fundy Highland Bantam AA Selects’ female hockey team has made it to the provincial championship game (as a peewee team, they played to a tie in the provincial championship game despite seven periods of overtime, which resulted in them being declared co-champs).
They’ll get another crack at claiming it all for themselves, when they travel this weekend to Dominion, Cape Breton for the provincial tournament.
“We’re super-excited because it’s really close and the closer it gets, the more nervous excitement we’re getting,” said team captain Olivia Fitt.
They will open the five-team tournament with a 1 p.m. game on March 8 against Metro West Force White.
“We’re pretty confident going in,” said head coach Bryan Smith, prior to a recent practice at Trenton rink.
“We have a good mix of girls, first and second year players, spread out from Guysborough to Truro.”
In addition to regular league play, the Selects took part in three tournaments this season, winning a silver at the Subway Cup, a bronze at SEDMHA and a gold medal at the Sweetheart Tournament in P.E.I. in February.
Smith said the team is fast, has a strong defensive corps that is not just talented but deep, and has what he called “great goaltending” in Gabby Arsenault.
“We like to get pucks deep and wear down teams – we’ve done a good job of that this year,” he said.
When Fitt was asked what the team will do to prepare for provincials, she sounded like a grizzled veteran.
“We’ll have good, hard practices and try to do everything 100 per cent. Eat healthy, drink healthy, sleep well,” said the 14-year-old resident of Stellarton.
The team is trying not to look past the provincial tournament, but it isn’t easy to forget what else is on the line this weekend: a trip to the Atlantic championship tournament, which will be held this spring in Clarenville, N.L.
“If we play the best game that we can, we can make it to Atlantics,” Fitt said. “If we make it to Atlantics, I think it’d be awesome for the organization and for our team.”
Bantam AA Selects Team Roster:
#1: Kylie Alexander (AP)
#2: Willa Evans
#3: Erin MacNeil
#4: Megan Smith
#5: Bree MacPherson
#6: Ava Gennoe
#7: Ellie Clarke
#8: Baillie Griffin
#9: Mairead MacPherson
#10: Olivia Fitt
#11: Kenzie Greencorn
#12: Jaylen Langille
#13: Julia MacDonald
#14: Emily Hart
#15: Josie Dunn
#16: Madison Beson
#17: Sarah Fraser
#31: Gabby Arsenault
Coach: Bryan Smith
Assistant coach: Trevor Fitt
Assistant coach: Tanya MacDonald
Manager: Gary Fraser